Natural flood management from the farmer's perspective: criteria that affect uptake

K. L. Holstead*, W. Kenyon, J. J. Rouillard, J. Hopkins, C. Galán-Díaz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Internationally, a wide set of measures are being considered to reduce flood risk: natural flood management (NFM) is one of them. NFM includes a broad range of measures that alter, restore or use landscape features to manage flood risk. By working with catchment-wide hydrological and morphological processes, NFM aims to manage the sources and pathways of floodwaters. NFM can nevertheless conflict with other land uses, in particular agricultural food production. Our research aimed to explore farmers' perceptions of NFM and identify the criteria influencing decision making in implementation. Using findings from a workshop, qualitative interviews and a national survey carried out in Scotland, this paper identifies six key criteria that farmers consider when implementing NFM: economics, availability of advice and support, public perception, joined-up policy, catchment planning and traditions. While a number of these criteria are consistent with the agri-environment literature and other flood management studies, our study makes some novel findings regarding farmer perceptions and how NFM affects the farm business. We conclude that NFM installation could be encouraged through one-to-one advice from a trusted facilitator and long-term financial incentives that compliment other farm payments. This should be combined with a catchment approach to flooding, which highlights shared responsibility for reducing flood risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-218
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Flood Risk Management
Issue number2
Early online date26 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • catchment management
  • farmer decision making
  • flood risk management
  • land use change
  • Natural flood management


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural flood management from the farmer's perspective: criteria that affect uptake'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this